Capsule CRM Review
Capsule CRM landed relatively late to the CRM scene, launching only a few years ago. Its parent company, Zestia LLC, was founded in 2008, and Capsule CRM is one of their newer releases. But sometimes the newcomer has the most innovative ideas. This seems to be the case for this UK-based tech company.
More than a Contact Manager system, Capsule offers an iPad-esque interface over feature-rich functionality with integrated task reminders, calendar features, and sales pipeline tracking. Social media feeds are also updated when viewing each contact’s profile.
While the larger and more established companies have their market share for a reason, there is something to be said for the small business which caters to small business. The modern entrepreneur needs software that won’t break the bank and won’t require a training course to master. Capsule CRM hasn’t lost sight of the little guy.
Capsule has adopted the increasingly-prevalent API architecture, enabling other companies to create programs that plug in to Capsule, expanding the scope of what the software can do. The website has a major section highlighting this compatibility, showcasing a suite of plugins and well-known third party apps that integrate easily with Capsule. This is a big item to check off of the Worry List for a busy business owner considering trying out new software. As stated on the website, Capsule believes “…the simplest solutions are the most elegant.”
Capsule has its sights set on becoming powerful enough for the big dogs, and it may very well get there. But for now it seems to excel in the small-business game. Check out the full review for more details.
Capsule CRM has two payment plans.
- Support for 2 users
- 250 contacts
- Somewhat limited (10MB) storage.
- $12 per month per user
- Multiple users
- Support for up to 50,000 contacts
- 2GB of storage per user
Capsule also offers a free 30-day demo of this premium plan. A credit card is required. In case you continue using the software, your payment will be charged automatically each subsequent month, and a receipt will be emailed to you. There is no long-term lock-in; you can change your plan at any time without a fee.
Hardware and Software Requirements:
- iOS Devices: Optimized for iPhone 5, iPad, iPad Touch running iOS 7 or later.
- Android: OS 4.1 or later.
Specific Size of Business:
Zestia claims to be able to provide solutions for small, medium, and enterprise-sized businesses, but it seems to have a focus on entrepreneurs and small businesses. Zestia itself currently has a staff of 20, with 12 developers and one US employee.
Ease of Use:
- The Capsule Dashboard, available once you set up a new account, is relatively easy to navigate. Everything you need to do can be found within a few clicks from the categorized tabs at the top of the window. If you prefer more tactile navigation, the mobile app gets synced every 5 minutes or so, meaning that any changes you make will be available to all users promptly.
- Mobile App: I found the user interface to be quite simple. A few bumps in the road while learning its layout, but I very quickly found myself able to navigate and input information easily. The biggest glitch was when I wanted to add a sales “Opportunity” to a fictitious client I had made. I was unable to save any of the fields that I had created, because something called a “milestone” is apparently mandatory. The milestones are specific, well, milestones, along the path to a completed sale. They are set up through the dashboard (account settings) and are customizable to your business.
- Final Verdict: In order to get the most out of Capsule, it may require major habit-making on the part of the business owner; when this phone call is made, do X with Capsule. When this task is complete, do Y with Capsule, and so on. But once integrated with your routine, I easily foresee a streamlined utility that will be indispensable. It starts out promising, turns into a minor headache, eventually resolves that headache, then prevents many future headaches.
I recommend playing with the mobile app while at your desktop computer, with their help section brought up in a web browser. Spend some quality time inputting your contacts, getting a feel for how it can integrate with your specific business, and test it with functions which you know your business will utilize. The website will help you navigate most of the problems you encounter. It is worth getting to know the software very well before adding it directly into your daily workflow. Having said that, I found most of the setup to be fairly straightforward. It won’t require an IT specialist to get your business entity up and running in Capsule. Anyone who is modernly web-savvy will find no surprises in their dashboard.
Like any CRM, Capsule’s main function is the ability to keep all your business contacts in one place. If that were all that Capsule did, it might still be a passable tool for small business. But front and center on Capsule’s website are their six key features, working hand-in-hand.
- Contact Management: Capsule enables you to define the specific relationship of the contact in your database. Specify whether John Doe is a lead, a vendor, a project manager, or one of your own employees.
- Sales Pipeline: Use Capsule to see where next month’s money might come from. Manage proposals and bids, and prioritize your workflow based on the biggest opportunities.
- Organize Communication: Keep each customer’s email in its own place. No sifting through your inbox.
- History Tracking: Keep all related files associated with your client attached to their account.
- Task Management: Be reminded when you have a deadline approaching, or when a client is expecting a phone call. Schedule follow-up calls after completing a sale. Share these tasks with your co-workers.
- Customization: Make Capsule your own with customizable logos, colors, and contact information fields. Make Capsule look and feel natural to your business. But for their most jaw-dropping feature, read the next section.
Integrations and Add-Ons:
This is where Capsule CRM really shines. The biggest A+ on Capsule’s report card is its ability to play well with others.
- FreeAgent incorporates time tracking and project estimating.
- Wufoo enables you to have new contact information fed directly into Capsule from your website.
- Freshbooks integrates with Capsule to track and receive payments.
- MailChimp will work hand-in-hand with your contact list, updating your clients with your email marketing blasts.
- Xero is cloud based accounting software.
Some of these integrations are part of the premium package, while others are available in both. You can view the full list of add-ons here.
Customer Service and Support:
The Support section of the website seems to be as slick as their software, with auto-complete search navigation and a vast array of categorized articles on common questions. Here are the modes of communication I found:
The hours of operation are Mon-Fri, 9AM-5PM GMT. For all intents and purposes, this translates to Sun-Thur with a 1-day turnaround for users in the US.
I contacted customer support via email after hours and immediately got an automated response in which they promised to respond “within a few hours” by the next business day. I received a reply by 9:10 am the next morning, with complete and comprehensive answers to my questions. Between the direct answers, statistics, links, and recommendations provided in the email, I got all the information I could have hoped for.
Their Twitter feed seems very active, boasting many entries per day with (ostensibly) resolved customer issues.
The only indication that I found of additional support for premium members was a link at the top of my dashboard, which read “Need help getting started? Upgrade to Professional Plan.” Following this link didn’t inform me of what kind of extra support I would get, however.
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
There are very few negative reviews on Capsule’s page in Google Apps. The most frequent complaint I’ve seen with Capsule is the mobile app’s lack of a notification feature. Users complain that they aren’t notified in the app of upcoming tasks, which could really improve the overall function of the app.
Here are a few reviews from users:
“It needs notifications I like the look and feel but it is of no use to me without notifications.”
“Missed the mark right from the start. What’s the point of having a mobile app if it doesn’t take advantage of the built in notification features. I mean what’s the point just make a mobile friendly webpage CRM and you basically have the same thing. I tried this app a few weeks ago and forgot why I didn’t like it. I installed it again with the simple test to have the app notify me of a task at a specific date and time. Lo and behold. Nothing. The whole point of the mobile platform with built in alerts capabilities and such is for easier workload.”
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
Capsule has a 4 out of 5 star rating in the Apple app store with 41 total ratings. Their Google app rating is slightly lower with 3.9 out of 5 stars and 201 ratings. The most recent reviews cite Capsule’s ease of use, affordability, and seamless integration. Here are a few excerpts from positive reviews in the Google Apps Marketplace:
“Value for money. Can’t be beaten, been using it for about 4 years and it just gets better.”
“Great app. We recently switched our CRM at the company I work with to Capsule and I love this app, at least when it works right. I get a lot of freezing when its been running in background but it simply requires closing the app and restarting. If you’re using Capsule this is a must have since the company hasn’t gone mobile friendly with their website yet.”
“Supertruper. Like this App very much. I had a few problems with creating tasks, they can’t be saved. but actually it runs good.”
Account log-ins are secured by standard Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) which is very common. This is the same secured connections which banks use to secure the electronic transfer of funds. Capsule’s SSL rating scored an A at ssllabs.com. That report can be tested at any time using this link.
I also found that Zestia utilizes Amazon to secure your data on their end. Amazon, being an industry leader, takes its security very seriously, employing both physical and electronic security measures. More information on Amazon’s security can be found here.
Zestia routinely utilizes a 3rd party penetration testing organization to keep it ahead of the game. Thus far no security breaches have been reported.
Based on my research and the contact I have had with Zestia, I give the company 5 out of 5 stars for their impressive security measures.
As stated in the Overview of this article, Capsule CRM, and its parent company, are still somewhat new undertakings. The software is bound to be fresh, but a little rough. While this may be the case here, it doesn’t come with so many of the red flags that I see in other software producers. The Capsule dev team seems to know their customers and are coding accordingly.
From the standpoint of your average small business owner, this is a critical tool that just needs a little polish. The shop owners who approach the information superhighway with their brakes on will probably be irritated at the learning curve, but the up-and-coming generations will likely take to it quite naturally. This tool will benefit both types greatly, once fully adopted into their workflow.
I have read through Capsule’s blogs, and compared that against the timeline of customer reviews left on Google Apps and the iTunes store. This has given me a decent cross-section of how Capsule has evolved, in its limited time on the market, in response to the requests and complaints of its users. I am impressed by the quick and systematic responsiveness of this development team. I project that Capsule will continually get smoother and easier from here on out.
Perhaps Zestia took notes on Apple Computer’s varied history. Capsule is as open-source as they come (which was Apple’s original failing) and as a result, its popularity will always be benefitted by other great software companies. Apple regained its place in the market by transforming its product from an impersonal beige box into a friendly, user-centric experience. Capsule learned this trick as well; from its intuitive ease-of-use to its customizability, Capsule is every bit the user-centric programming we’ve come to expect out of our technology.
My final verdict is this: Whether you currently use another CRM or you didn’t even know there was such a thing, do yourself a favor and plug it in to your workflow. It’s a product made by a small company, for a small company, so you’re not likely to feel like you’re swimming in the wrong pond. It may take some getting used to, but all the evidence points to Capsule as being the must-have tool for staying on top of the data snowball. having said that, there is an upper threshold; businesses with larger sales teams or highly refined sales processes may find Capsule too limiting.
If you think Capsule might be the right fit for you and your business, try them out here for free.